Tork Kratos R First Ride Review - Likes & Dislikes
Can the Tork Kratos be the first electric motorcycle for the masses?
Many years after unveiling the Tork T6X, the Pune-based start-up finally launched their first production electric motorcycle, Kratos, earlier this year. The Tork Kratos is the first indigenously developed high-speed electric motorcycle to be manufactured in India. The desi electric motorcycle is available in two variants, and we got to sample the top-spec Kratos R. Here’s what worked in its favour and what didn’t.
What we liked
The Kratos is a sporty looking motorcycle with its sharp styling. One can see hints of the TVS Apache RTR and Honda Hornet’s influence on the design. An interesting design element is that the fuel tank, centre panel and the tail section appear to be one single unit. Unlike most other electric motorcycles, the Tork Kratos has the proportions of a conventional ICE motorcycle, while the exposed battery pack conveys it being an EV. The Kratos R variant is available in white, red and balck colours, while the standard variant is only offered in white.
Range is a big criteria for two-wheelers, and Tork engineers have focussed on extending it by compromising a bit on the performance end. The Kratos R features a 4kWh battery pack, and the company claims an IDC range of 180. Real-world range is a more realistic 120km in Eco mode, which is very impressive, and in Sport mode that drops down to 70km. Charging time using a conventional home charger is between 4 and 5 hours. The Kratos R also gets fast charging, and Tork claims 80 percent charge in under one hour. Battery warranty stands at three years or 40,000km.
The Kartos R features a trellis frame, with a battery pack acting as a stressed member. Handling dynamics of the electric motorcycle are very impressive. Direction changes are swift, and around the mountain roads, the bike behaved with confidence. Despite its 140kg weight, the Kratos does feel easy to steer, making it effortless to ride in city traffic.
As you can see above, the Kratos R features a more powerful motor and offers quicker acceleration in comparison to its sibling. With respect to performance, the acceleration doesn’t have the wow factor that one associates with EVs, and that’s due to the tuning of the motor for better range. However, the Kratos R does have a strong mid-range and was cruising between 70-80kmph rather easily. Tork claims a top speed of 105kmph for the R variant, but that’s something we can verify only after a road test.
Tork designers have got the riding ergonomics spot on. The flat and wide handle bar is easy to reach and offers good leverage. Footpegs are centre set so the riding position is upright and comfortable. The width of the bike is narrow, and coupled with a low seat height of 785m, shorter riders wouldn't feel nervous. Another aspect that adds comfort is the spacious saddle, which means hefty riders wouldn’t feel uninvited.
What we did not like
At the day of the ride the ambient temperature was close to 40 degrees and coupled with the steep inclines of the location, the Kratos’s motor really suffered. The thermal management system was overwhelmed, and the motor was shut off to prevent it from damage. This meant we had to stop for around 10mins, let the motor cool down naturally and then commence our shoot. It wasn’t a one-off occurrence and it kind of spoilt the riding experience for us. Tork officials claim that the safety cut off was set high and that they could lower it to solve this issue. We really hope they are able to fix it on the production version.
The other problem with the indigeneous electric motorcycle is quality. The weld quality on the swingarm is crude, there are lots of visible wires and even the turn indicator ends are exposed. Switchgear quality is average at best and doesn’t suit a motorcycle priced at a premium. Finish levels of the body panels can also do with a bit of an improvement, and we are hopeful that these issues are ironed out in the production-spec model.
The trellis frame is suspended on a telescopic fork and a monoshock unit. Whie the telescopic fork does a good job, the same can’t be said for the rear. On sharp bumps, the jolts can be felt directly and a more plusher suspension setup would have been welcome.
Braking hardware consists of disc brakes on either side and it offers a good bite. However, under hard braking, the front tyre was waving and this could have caused a crash. We switched bikes and on the other unit, we didn’t encounter this issue. However, ABS would have improved safety; and given the performance claimed, it will give the rider more confidence than the CBS unit.
At Rs 2.07 lakh (ex-showroom), the Tork Kratos R isn’t affordable by any means. However with the Fame II and state subsidies, the price does come down a fair bit. Nonetheless, at Rs 1.23 lakh, it’s a pricey offering, especially given the fact that the Ola S1 Pro claims better performance and range.
As a first attempt, the Tork Kratos R is an impressive motorcycle. It offers great range, enjoyable handling and likeable performance. However, is it an electric motorcycle that we would recommend? The simple answer is no, for now.
It’s about 80 percent ready according to us, and the biggest issue we had with the motorcycle was its heating issue. Despite its formidable performance and dynamics, the fact that we had to stop on many occasions was a killjoy and raises reliability issues.
So, as you can see, the Tork Kratos has an abundance of potential, and one has to appreciate the brand for their indigeneous attempt. However, the flaws are such that they can’t be ignored for the time being and for this reason you will have to wait a bit longer for a trustworthy electric motorcycle.